Idris Ayodeji Bello is an ‘Afropreneur’ , award-winning strategist and global thought leader with far-reaching and diverse experience in technology, strategic planning, and project management in different sectors (energy, healthcare, education, consumer goods, NGOs, government).
A consummate connector, Idris has developed a thriving social and business network spanning five continents, and which particularly includes many of the established and upcoming African developers, innovators, and leaders.
Listed among CNN’s Top Ten African Technology Voices in 2012 and profiled as The Huffington Post’s “Greatest Person of the Day” in 2011, Idris works on the frontlines of African social and technological development and has committed his professional career to the development of innovation-driven, technology-enabled social enterprises that empower the underserved and develop transformative ideas to change lives on the African continent.
A First Class Honors graduate of Computer Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Idris’s educational trajectory mirrors his diverse social interests: He has an MSc. in Computer Science & Data Mining from the University of Houston; an MBA in Entrepreneurship & Strategy from Rice University in Houston where he was the 2011 Jones Scholar and Jones Citizen, and also won the 2011 SallyPort Award for leadership and top academic performance; and an MSc in Global Health Science from the University of Oxford, where he was the 2011 recipient of The Lord Weidenfeld Scholarship for demonstrating remarkable potential as a future leader from an emerging economy. Idris is the first Nigerian-American recipient of The Lord Weidenfeld Scholarship.
Extremely impactful during his Oxford stay, Idris served as the President of the Oxford University Africa Society. He was pivotal in organizing and executing the 2012 Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Conference with 300 participants from 51 countries, and also served as the Graduate Medical Sciences Divisional Officer for the Oxford University Students Union.
Idris has worked with the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative where he played a major role in the deployment and evaluation of Swaziland’s first mobile health patient appointment reminder system as part of the country’s National AIDS Program. He has also participated at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting where he publicly engaged with President Clinton on the issues of leadership in Africa and convinced him to intensify efforts targeted at leveraging past African leaders to play a role in public policy affecting youth and women.
Prior to studying at Oxford, Idris spent over six years working at the Chevron Corporation, where he led several large upstream technology projects across the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa. He also played a role in facilitating a healthcare innovation partnership between Rice University’s ‘Beyond the Borders’ program and the Government of Liberia with financial support from Chevron. In his previous role as Planning Manager at Procter & Gamble West Africa, he led several supply chain projects and facilitated product promotion and introduction into several West African markets.
Idris is also a co-founder of The Wennovation Hub, an innovation platform that successfully accelerated the launch of a dozen start-ups in healthcare, education and e-commerce, creating jobs and raising seed funds locally and internationally. The Wennovation Hub also won the 2012 SAP Ashoka Global Changemaker Competition for its work with startups in Lagos, Nigeria.
He is a 2011 StartingBloc Innovation Fellow and a 2010 Nigeria Leadership Initiative Future Leader, part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. For his work with Libraries Across Africa (LAA) and the Afyazima Blood Pressure mCuff, he received the Dell Best Social Innovation Leveraging Technology Award in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and also won the 2011 New York Ideas Marketplace Top Social Enterprise Pitch Award.
He was named a 2012 Dell Global Innovation Ambassador for his role in supporting social innovation, and also selected as a 2012 MIT Global Start-up Fellow for global contribution to entrepreneurial development. He was named among the Top 10 Black Students in the UK for 2012 and is also a 2011 Fellow at the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance , a gathering of highly educated young African entrepreneurs seeking to translate ideas about the development of Africa into action.
As an ambassador for his message of lifting nations out of poverty through access to quality education and affordable healthcare, Idris has made policy presentations at the British House of Lords, The Parliaments of Ghana and South Africa, and The Vatican in Rome. Most recently, he served as a voice of reason in the media in advocating against stigmatization during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
His volunteer leadership experiences include serving as the Founding Executive Secretary for Mumineen Foundation Inc., US-based 501-c3 non-profit founded to cater to the development and leadership needs of African-American & African immigrant youths in Houston.
As a leader, Idris has mentored and catalyzed scores of contributors across the growing African landscape. Recently featured in Vanity Fair Magazine’s Spotlight on Africa’s Entrepreneurs , he is also an angel investor and advisor to several African startups including Andela, Flutterwave, Printivo, Kangpe, Weave, ScholarX, Hutbay, Nervemobile, FuelMetrics , Ogavenue, and Adient Medical among others.
He also sits on the Investment Management Committee of the newly launched LoftyInc Afropreneurs Fund focused on early-stage ventures domiciled in Nigeria with strong Pan-African potential.
He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace where he helps to provide expert guidance around market linkages and incubation support to enable health innovation to achieve scale, making targeted investments in selected innovations and building a sustainable convergence platform around health innovation.
A global health advocate and an avid long-distance runner, Idris speaks English, Yoruba, and Arabic and splits his time between his operational bases in the United States, Egypt, and Nigeria.
He can be reached via Twitter @idrisayobello